When I see the name of today’s artist, I’ll always take the time to stop, look and study her work. The artist for today’s Friday Love is Iris Van Herpen.
I’ve always admired the work of Iris Van Herpen who blurs the boundaries between fashion designer, artist and technologist. I discovered her work whilst study for an MA in Digital Media Art and subsequently I discovered a real passion for Wearable Technology.
Her work may appear eccentric, certainly extraordinary and not at all to do with the pretty pictures I tend to show here. However, for me she brings the fantasy I love about fashion illustration and illustration in general alive and into the real world. Through her garment explorations, she is teaching us about a world we will be inhabiting in the future as well as the one we are creating for ourselves now.
At this point I must add: this is what I love about Haute Couture fashion – the fantasy world and playing with ideas. Using our bodies and the garments we place upon them everyday, to explore more about ourselves and our environment.
I’ve taken this excerpt from Iris Van Herpen’s bio on her website, as it explains brilliantly, everything I love about Haute Couture, the fantasy of fashion and her work in particular:
Iris van Herpen stands for a reciprocity between craftsmanship and innovation in technique and materials. She creates a modern view on Haute Couture that combines fine handwork techniques with digital technology. Van Herpen forces fashion to the extreme contradiction between beauty and regeneration. It is her unique way to reevaluate reality and so to express and underline individuality.
The essence of van Herpen is expressing the character and emotions of a woman and to extend the shape of the feminine body in detail. She mixes craftsmanship- using old and forgotten techniques- with innovation and materials inspired on the world to come.”
Van Herpen will often collaborate with other artists and scientists including leading figures from MIT labs. She has become particularly renowned for her 3D printed garments
I could write a whole essay about her work. Instead here are some of my favourite projects. Many of them are from the Haute Couture collection because this is where the real fun can be had! However she does have a ready to wear collection, which still remains true to her aesthetic and visions. I really urge you to take time out and read further about these projects on her website.
A Selection of Iris Van Herpen Haute Couture Collections
Refinery Smoke, 2008
The ambiguous character of refinery smoke, both beautiful and poisonous, inspired this collection. Van Herpen translated the elusiveness of industrial smoke into specially woven metal gauze. Iris wants to give the viewer this mixed feeling about the collection by manipulating the unpleasant industrial material metal mesh into something soft and lively.
Radiation Invasion, 2009
What we could do with our daily (over)dose of electromagnetic waves and digital information streams if we could see them? In these designs the wearer seems to be surrounded by a whimsical complex of wavy rays, flickering patterns, vibrating particles, and reflecting pleats. This collection is about all the invisible rays (particularly electronics) with which we are constantly surrounded and immersed.
Synesthesia is an extreme sensitivity of the body, which as a result of which all the senses merge. You can see colours when hearing music or experience taste. I’m pretty fasciated about this condition. Another of the artists I’ve featured here, ‘5ftinf’ also has this condition. In this collection Iris has approached the body as a manipulative, sensitive and fragile object by enlarging body parts through transparency, movement and extreme repetition.
“I wonder if in the future clothing will support some of our senses or even take over.”
Crystalisation, 2010 (above image and first image in this post)
This is the collection that I first saw and fell in love with. A collaboration was organized between Iris van Herpen and Benthem Crouwel Architekten. Benthem Crouwel’s design for a new extension to Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum had earned the nickname ‘bath tub’. This inspired Van Herpen to design a dress that would fall around the wearer like a splash of water, like being immersed in a warm bath. This collection is when Van Herpen presented her first 3D-printed garmets, created in collaboration with the London-based architect Daniel Widrig, printed by .MGX by Materialise.
Iris van Herpen made her debut in Paris as member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture with this collection, in 2011. It was, ironically the year I did my first skydive! This collection presented five striking outfits that evoke the feeling just before and during a free-fall parachute jump. A ‘leap in the air’ – the meaning of the French word ‘Capriole’. The five outfits are a reflection of the extreme feelings experienced during that jump. And yes – they are just perfect!
I’d love to hear your thoughts about Iris Van Herpen. What do you think clothes say about you?
Enjoy your weekend
All Images & Information via the Iris Van Herpen Website.